Renewable Energy In Australia
Interest in and production of Renewable energy in Australia has undergone substantial growth over the past decade. It is estimated that Renewable energy produced 29,302 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity (or equivalent) over the year ending September 2011, which represents 9.6% of the total production in Australia. This compares to 2006 figures, where approximately 9,500 GWh of electricity came from renewable sources, representing less than 4% of electricity consumption for that year. Of all renewable energy sources in 2011, hydro represents 67.2%, wind 21. 9%, bioenergy 8.5%. solar PV 2.3%, solar thermal 0.015%, wave and tidal 0.003% and geothermal 0.002%. Additionally, solar water heating units have been calculated to have offset the equivalent of 2115 GWh of electricity per year which represents around 7.2% of total renewable energy production.
Similar to many other countries, development of renewable energy in Australia has been encouraged by government policy implemented in response to concerns about climate change, energy independence and economic stimulus. A key policy that has been in place since 2001 to encourage large scale renewable energy development is a mandatory renewable energy target, which in 2010 was increased to 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable generation from power stations. Alongside this there is the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, an uncapped scheme to support rooftop solar power and solar hot water and several State schemes providing feed-in tariffs to encourage photovoltaics. More recently, these policies have been supplemented by a carbon price and a 10 billion dollar fund to finance renewable energy projects.
Survey results suggest that there is considerable public support for the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Australia.
It has been suggested that with sufficient public and private sector investment and government policy certainty, Australia could switch entirely to renewable energy within a decade by building additional large scale solar and wind power developments, upgrades to transmission infrastructure and introduction of appropriate energy efficiency measures.
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